The men of ‘32 Battalion’ were black Angolans fighting for white South Africa. Many of them were just boys back then. Now they spend their lives in the desert town of Pomfret, struggling with doubts and regret. Can there be redemption for these men?
After the MPLA won Angola’s war of independence in 1975, many of its defeated enemies from the FNLA went on to fight for the South African army. Known as 32 Battalion, nicknamed ‘The Terrible Ones’, they fought in the service of the Apartheid regime against their black compatriots.
Now the men tell their stories in Pomfret, an abandoned desert town where only they live, in squalid circumstances. Pomfret is also the backdrop for the re-enactment of the story of Jesus Christ and Judas Iskariot, in which the men play the disciples. Do they identify with the Romans who arrested Jesus? Or with Judas, personification of betrayal? The faces of the men tell a thousand stories: stories of heartache and regret, of doubt and pain. As one of them says: ‘The suffering is too much. And we suffer for nothing.’